Exactly $1 million in incentives is being offered by New Mexico to encourage investment within the state’s defined Opportunity Zones.
The initiative, sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Economic Development, is called the OZ Jobs Bonus and is designed to get investors and developers to take advantage of the larger national Opportunity Zones program before its tax incentives expire at the end of the year.
By so doing, those investors and developers will be creating new businesses that will create jobs in low-income neighborhoods and, not incidentally, also put money into new and renovated building projects
In a public statement, Alicia Keyes, New Mexico’s Economic Development Secretary, said the state is offering the $1 million in incentives because “we know this is a once-in-a lifetime chance to reinvigorate rural, aging neighborhoods and vital infrastructure.”
The national Opportunity Zones program is a component of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The idea from the start has been to free capital for investment and building in defined distressed zones within a state.
Proposals for specific zones were subsequently sent to the Treasury Department, resulting in the creation within the last year of more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones nationally.
In New Mexico there are now 63 Opportunity Zones, nearly 40 percent of which are largely in rural areas.
The average median income in those zones is around $37,000, compared to a state average of $46,600.
The unemployment rate in the zones, meanwhile, stands at 11.2 percent, far above the July state rate of 4.9 percent.
By Garry Boulard
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